Montana Road Trip 2010, Chapter Thirty-Five

My head is so full of words, of stories, of pictures. There’s so much I want to write about! I have come to realize that through this little bloggie, I am a storyteller at heart. Yeah, I’ll show you my knitting, or my spinning. And that’s a good thing. But what I love most is telling stories about what’s going on in my life, about the places I’ve been, and the things I’ve seen along the way. So I guess you could say that my blog is about the journeys I’m on, long and short, big and small.

That said, how about we go back to the Montana Road Trip of 2010? Okay?  Okay.

We’d just driven up to the freeway from the fascinating town of Wallace. U know, da one with all da makule buildings, and da whole town is on da historic register?  Yeah, dat one.  So here we are just about to drive makai onto I-90, heading home from Montana.

Ai yah. So tempting to head back mauka again! But nope, we had to go back home again. This time, we’re heading back towards Coeur d’ Alene.

But even though we’re heading home, there were plenny more adventures waiting for us.

Just ten miles down the road, in Kellogg, we learned about a devastating piece of history, the Sunshine Mine Disaster, one of the worst mining disasters in U.S. history.

We had never heard of this before, and we pulled off the freeway at the memorial to learn more about it.

When we first saw the miniature headstones…ho da chicken skin. This was a very sobering experience for us, and we didn’t talk much as we walked around the area.

We read the names on every single headstone. I felt by doing this, I was somehow honoring the men who had died here.


Seeing this amazing statue again just now, I get chicken skin all over. The light on the miner’s hat never goes out.

A 13-foot-tall metal miner, with a glowing headlamp, memorializes those killed in the Sunshine Mine disaster of May 2, 1972. The statue stands behind 91 miniature tombstones, one for each miner who suffocated in a smoky fire at America’s largest silver mine.

Standing at the mouth of Big Creek Canyon, the doomed miner defiantly hoists his rock drill skyward, as if trying to punch an air hole to the surface. He was sculpted by Ken Lonn, a former shift boss at the mine, and reportedly is positioned so that his headlamp casts its feeble beam toward the mine entrance.

– See more at:

This is what the rocky area around here looks like.

I took a silhouette photo of the miner.

Below the statue are the names of all the men who lost their lives here.

Then I walked around to the other side so that I could take a better photo of the miner’s headlamp. I stood there for a long time. Thinking. Pondering. Meditating. And yeah, praying.

In the background, you can see the flag.

Here is part of the poem on the plaque. I hope you can read it.


I know I took plenny photos of the same thing, only different angles, but I couldn’t stop. I was held spellbound by this place. It felt like a holy place to me.

Quietness seemed appropriate here.

Nolemana and I wandered around some more, each of us lost in our own thoughts.

I encourage you to read more about this time in our history. There’s lots of pages about it when you Google it.

I leave you with this. A symbol of bravery and courage, loss and devastation. Yet somehow, a symbol of finding light together despite unspeakable tragedy.


This entry was posted in Da Kine: Sometimes Full-on Pidgin, Holoholo Pacific Northwest and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Montana Road Trip 2010, Chapter Thirty-Five

  1. Michelle says:

    A beautiful story about your visit to this touching memorial!

  2. AFK says:

    Sobering, isn’t it? Your loved one goes to work one morning and then doesn’t come home that evening. An ordinary place made holy because of the loss of so many.

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